Dummerston musician wins Grammy for new age album

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(Host) A Vermonter is among this year’s Grammy winners. Will Ackerman of Dummerston won a Grammy award for his new age album, “Returning.”

VPR’s Susan Keese has more.

(Keese) Ackerman is the founder of Windham Hill Records, the label that put New Age Music on the map in the 1980s. He recorded ‘Returning’ for Universal Records at his studio in Dummerston with neighbor and co-producer Corin Nelsen.

‘Returning’ is a collection of new recordings of Ackerman’s favorite guitar solos from more than 30 years of composing and performing. He says he tried to capture on CD the emotional connection he feels onstage.

(Ackerman) “Really it was born of playing these pieces in concert and having people come up after a performance and say, you know, we’ve always loved the Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter – that’s always been our favorite song, but the way you played it in performance tonight was so expressive and so much more dynamic. And I actually went back and sort of purposely revisited all the stuff, and what I heard was pieces that were the product of a young kid in a studio scared to death. And so it occurred to me that I’d like to get these things right. And you know, I felt like I did with the songs.”

(Keese) This is Ackerman’s first Grammy for his own work, although his last two solo albums were nominated. The 55-year-old artist produced a number of Grammy winning records for the Windham Hill label, which he sold in 1992.

He says he didn’t attend Sunday’s award ceremonies.

(Ackerman) “I’ve sort of tried to distance myself from a lot of this popularity contest stuff, but I am just overwhelmed by how much it does matter to me. It’s actually been sort of a tearful emotional thing. I find myself reaching out to people – not just the Grammy but 30 years of my career. So it’s been kind of cathartic.”

(Keese) Ackerman says the solos on ‘Returning’ were played on a Froggy Bottom Guitar that was made in Williamsville.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese.

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